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Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.
But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

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What does sound look like?

3 minutes

Is it possible to see sound? Yes, but it takes some crafty photographic wizardry

The concept of ‘seeing sound’ might seem preposterous, but when you consider that sound is just compressed air travelling in waves, the idea becomes a bit more logical. The real trick is capturing air flow in a way that makes it perceptible to the human eye. Through some clever tricks, scientists are able to do just that using a technique called Schlieren flow visualisation, which is used to study everything from heat and sound to aerodynamics and the spread of disease.

Producer: Adam Cole

Video by NPR’s Skunk Bear

Support Aeon

Ideas can change the world

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview.

But we can’t do it without you.

Aeon is a registered charity committed to the spread of knowledge and a cosmopolitan worldview. Our mission is to create a sanctuary online for serious thinking.

No ads, no paywall, no clickbait – just thought-provoking ideas from the world’s leading thinkers, free to all. But we can’t do it without you.

Become a Friend for $5 a month or Make a one-off donation

Essay/Biology
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From the memories of flowers to the sociability of trees, the cognitive capacities of our vegetal cousins are all around us

Laura Ruggles

Essay/Earth Science
Life goes deeper

The Earth is not a solid mass of rock: its hot, dark, fractured subsurface is home to weird and wonderful life forms

Gaetan Borgonie & Maggie Lau